I’m a sucker for romance. I’m not ashamed to say it. I’m a romantic at heart and I have a thing for romance stories, but they have to be good ones. Trashy romance novels with shirtless men on the cover won’t interest me for even a minute, nor do I enjoy those forced, obsessive and frankly insane romance stories Stephanie Meyer spawned into the world.
But you give me a good romance, one that feels natural and organic, and you’ll hook me.
Beyond the romance, I’ll watch anything with a good story and a great set of characters. It can be games, TV series, western cartoons or anime. Specifically with the latter, I watch a lot of them, and while every year I slog through a pathetic attempt at retelling the same story all over again in different genres, there are sometimes those series that grab me and don’t let me go until the credits roll on the final episode, leaving me sad at times, be it by the story itself or because it’s over. But sometimes, the really good ones leave me inspired, changed in a way, with a spark of creativity.
In the past couple of years, no series managed to grab me, play with my emotions and inspire me more than Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso aka Your Lie in April. It is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever experienced in any media. It made me cry as much as it made me laugh, it gave me the drive to try out my hand at writing romance—the results were horrendous, but at least I wrote a full novel in the genre—and it fed my love for great music, particularly the piano and violin.
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is the story of Kousei, a high school boy who used to be one of the best piano players in the country, winning one competition after another when he was a kid. But because of an altercation with his dying mother at the time, and his regrets on their relationship, he can’t play anymore, his emotional trauma getting in the way. One day in spring, one of his close friends tells him to come with him to meet his new girlfriend. This is Kaori Miyazono, the female lead, a free spirited violin player. She, along with the rest of the supporting cast, help Kousei overcome his trauma and play piano once more.
But while I make it seem like it’s all about Kousei, it’s not. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso has a few interconnected storylines and Kousei’s trauma is but one of them. I just don’t want to spoil it for you. It’s not your typical romance story. It’s not a typical drama or even comedy. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is very special in that it doesn’t adhere to any established tropes but tells a beautiful and nuanced story.
As it’s a series about musicians, the music is central in the experience and you’ll hear wonderful performances of some of the most famous classical music pieces, infused at times with such powerful emotions that you’ll be as enthralled as the characters are. Shigatsu uses music perhaps in its purest form, as another medium to transmit a story or emotions and it’s fantastic.
In terms of Kousei’s trauma, I love how they use music and sound to represent this condition. He’ll start playing and then when his mindset takes a turn for the worse, he’ll feel as if underwater and the music drowns out accordingly, sounding distant and distorted. In his attempts to recover the tune, he’ll mash the keys and you can see and hear how things are for him in his altered state of mind but also for the audience. It’s wonderful and creative storytelling.
While writing this article, which is in no way a review, but morel like yesterday’s article on Hearthstone, just me telling you why I love this series and why I think you should watch it, I’ve been listening to the soundtrack, watching the performance scenes and it’s amazing that even after watching them so many times, they can still bring a tear to my eyes.
The cast is simply wonderful. The characters have all such amazing depth. Kousei gets plenty of focus at the start but over the course of the series, you get to know everything about everyone, but it’s never forced. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso’s storytelling doesn’t try to force-feed you exposition, and instead lets the interactions between characters and the music they perform speak for them. Kousei’s rivals, people he barely even knew as a child, are as amazing and intense as the main characters.
Kaori is a beautiful human being and it’s a character that feels so real I almost wish I could meet her in person. The way she lives life to the fullest and does everything to not have any regrets is both inspiring and heartbreaking. And I love how her interactions with Kousei change him and his close friends and how they in turn have an effect on her.
Again, it has beautiful storytelling, with depth and humanity that many series, no matter the media, fail to accomplish. In terms of human relationships and romance it’s the most organic evolution I’ve seen in characters in any anime, where everything usually falls on tired tropes. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso doesn’t bother with those and shows you a believable scenario.
I could stay here and talk about this series all day, but I seriously don’t want to spoil anything for you because it is a gorgeous series that I hope you’ll all watch.
I absolutely adore it and I hope you will too!